Hop Thief Ale | Malt Shovel Brewery

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Hop Thief AleHop Thief Ale
68 Ratings
Hop Thief AleHop Thief Ale

Brewed by:
Malt Shovel Brewery

Style: American Pale Ale (APA)

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by DaveFL1976 on 03-20-2006

Bros Score:
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 68 |  Reviews: 39
Reviews by danieelol:
Photo of danieelol
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hop Thief 6 (2014)

Pours an attractive amber with a hint of copper, almost a hint of purple. I like the colour, head recedes a little rapidly.

There's a pininess from when I first cracked the bottle- there's also a subtle paw paw and mango. There's a dose of James Squire's house character and also a pronounced "meatiness" I'm not accustomed to- not sure if it's from hops, yeast or malt. Almost has an odd note of port or fermented berries to it.

Taste is decently hoppy but in a soft way that slowly fills the palate- more mango and pine here. Also a hint of those fermenting berries (blackberries?)

Mouthfeel actually has a hint of sourness- perhaps I'm thinking of blackberry leaves? Also solid bitterness and mineral character, hops.

Both a hoppy and otherwise strange and unique beer. Definitely recommend trying this year's, will grab some more bottles if my fridge has room.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of doktorhops
3.51/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Here he is: James Squire's attempt at an American Pale Ale... a brewery that runs the gamut from ham-fisted mass-market beers (150 Lashes to be specific) and decent examples of how Australians really can brew a classic old world style (i.e. their IPA). Hop-fully (see what I did there) their Hop Thief falls into that second category. Also noted is the hop bill of Simcoe & Columbus hops suggesting this is actually a seasonal brew.

Poured from a 345ml bottle into a nonic pint.

A: The body is a clear deep rust colour with a slight beige foamy head, smack bang in APA territory right now.

S: Full and fruity hops present a passion-fruit and pine nose, with a big sweet caramel malt middle and a lingering earthy background note... it actually smells on par with a big name APA like Sierra Nevada so top marks there Mr. Squire.

T: Flavour lets it down a little bit - the promise of hops was bold in the aroma and unfortunately Mr. Squire is writing cheques that my tongue can't cash, to borrow a quote from Top Gun, plus there is a certain grain element in there that is a little bit distracting... like a cowboy at a rodeo in a Hawaiian shirt. Taste is pine/grapefruit hops with a certain earthiness and that odd wheat-bix note where delicious caramel malt should be. The finish is also too dry for an APA (should be bitter dammit!).

M: Mid to light bodied with a light carbonation (though that could be because it was drunk at room temp).

D: Overall a disappointment, however not because it was mass-market pandering but more like it was disjointed, hideously scarred for some reason, a real brewers Frankenstein, which is a shame because I do like Mr. Squire and his menagerie of attempts at making typical beer styles, and although he is hit-and-miss at times James's heart is always in the right place. Perhaps the next one will be better James?

Food match: Despite being weird in the malt department this brew is pretty balanced, I would say a grain-fed steak, fries and Diane sauce would suit this well... I've got grain on the mind now.

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Photo of SmashPants
4.31/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Format: standard 330mL brown bottle, pretty standard James Squire label.

Appearance: pours out a clear, deep copper-gold colour with fine carbonation visible. A half-finger of thick off-white head lingers for a time before dropping to a solid ring. Looks pretty darn good.

Aroma: a pleasant, sweet pine and grapefruit aroma up front with a touch of biscuit malts behind. Reaks of quality.

Taste: again with the grapefruit and pine, some resin with more biscuit malts than normally seen in an APA. It is a refreshing and well-considered addition. Quite buttery also.

Aftertaste: that buttery taste follows through along with a combination of malt sweetness and hop bitterness. Great!

Mouth feel: moderate in feel with also a moderate carbonation. Brings the flavours through well, with a touch of sweetness on the finish.

Overall: one of the better APAs I have had to date. Nicely complex with a bit more malt than usual without diminishing the hops. Add a price of AU$52 a case, and this is one of the bargains of the century.

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Photo of chogm54
3.82/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Reviewing Hop Thief 6 (simcoe and columbus hops) from memory - had a few hours ago, with a hearty imperial stout in between. BB date of Jan 2015.

Clear, bronze with a decent frothy head. Fruity (tropical - passionfruit) and floral odours, taste was surprisingly fruity with a muted bitterness. A little bit thin and watery, moderate carbonation

Decent APA, but the nose is better than the taste. Better than most other James Squire range, if you can grab this at the same price like I did.

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Photo of csmartin6
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of jeschaefer
3.18/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Photo of WoodBrew
3.52/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Vanz
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Photo of MrKennedy
3.1/5  rDev -16%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

16oz pour at 30 Knots.

Pours amber in colour with some golden highlights. White foam on top provides some spotty lacing and retains well.

It has a nice passionfruit aroma, strong to start with and stays with it for some time. Not a lot else to compliment it though.

Taste is a bit of a mix. At first it was a little metallic, then some stale passionfruit, before improving with fresh passionfruit and a little bit of chalky sherbet. A little tangy later on as the sort of stale passionfruit back end has an encore. Good at times. Not good at others.

Medium bodied, decent bitterness and consistent with it. A little chalky which helps it. But the tang of the stale passionfruit comes back to haunt it and hurt the drinkability.

Decent, but done staleness really does hurt this beer. Could be quite good, shame this wasn't at that level though.

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Photo of goodbyesoberday
4/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear and gold with a moderate head that dissipates. Aroma of mandarines and rockmelon with a hint of fleeting cinnamon/nutmeg spice. Mandarine and slight rockmelon continues into the flavour with a nice light malty presence. Some slight sulphur qualities dissipate. Good strength of hop flavour plus malt-hop balance lend the beer a certain sweetness that is refreshing rather than cloying.

Lovely beer and well worth buying. I had heard reports that the new season's batch was lacking on hop flavour but the case I purchased lives up to its name.

[edit] Mulling over another bottle a day later, I think the malty sweetness is a little too overbalanced for what I think this beer is trying to achieve.

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Photo of Andrewziggy
2.75/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.75

Pine and grapefruit not to bad

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Photo of Simesta
3.73/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.19/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark amber approaching a coppery brown. Small head fades rapidly.
Sweet floral hop aroma, some clean malt with a bit of caramel and toffee. Resinous, a hint of pine. Very enjoyable but not that complex.
Taste is too sweet - the hops don't manage to keep the sweet malt in check. There's a fair whack of resiny hop flavour, but next to no bitterness.
Undercarbed in my opinion. Almost watery.

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Photo of AaronNQ
4.25/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Kroehny_Loves_Hops
3/5  rDev -18.7%

Photo of BrazilianAussie
4/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of Kulrak
3.93/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep orangish golden color with fluffy white head that takes a while to fade away. The smell is faintly of spicy and citrusy hops, and not much else. The taste is very very hoppy. Citrus and floral hops, lots of hops. Not a whole lot of bitterness though. There's some malty sweetness there along with it. I'm really liking this. The finish is a little sour from all the hops, but if you like hops, it's worth it. The mouthfeel is creamy and heavy, not a whole lot of carbonation. Overall, this beer is very drinkable, especially if you're a hop lover.

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Photo of eric5bellies
3.88/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Drank from my Duvel Tulip

A - Pours a dark honey colour with a large bubbled white head that reduces to a film.

S - Plenty oh piney notes here.

T - Hops, hops and more hops with a hint of sweetness at the finish. Mostly piney flavours balanced out by a little malt honey.

M - Light to medium body with well balanced carbonation.

D - The best one limited release from James Squires so far.

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Photo of Jake321
5/5  rDev +35.5%

Photo of rec
3.65/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This years batch is the first I've encountered, and I was pretty impressed. While resembling Squires much loved Golden Ale it was different and intriguing, despite not neccessarily being better or worse.

The pour delivers a golden copper body with one finger head that dissipates quite quickly but laces remarkably well.

Straight after pour I stuck my nose over the bottle. The aroma is delicious, consisting of fresh hops, florals and unique light fruits such as lychee. Quite simply fantastic.

The taste is sweet, but not too sweet. Those lighter fruits come through too, with strong honey undertones upon first sip. Spice and hops are also present and help to balance that sweetness.

The aftertaste is flat and mildly bitter, and due to the carbonation probably won't be considered a session beer, which is a trait shared by most in the James Squire range.

I highly recommend giving this one a try, but I think I'll stick with the Amber Ale for my choice of Malt Shovel Brewery beers.

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Photo of goatherder
4.29/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

a: pale gold colour. small white head which disappears quickly and gathers around the rim. lacing all the way to the bottom.

s: a little bit malty and a lot of passionfruit. this is one lovely smelling beer.

t: oh yes, i am impressed. the malt really takes a back seat to the hops. crisp, fruity and a sharp bitter finish which goes on for ages. there is a hint of alcohol there too, a bit more obvious than I would expect for a beer with this abv.

m: the ample carbonation really showcases the hops but also helps to overwhelm the malt character a bit. i would rate the body as medium - not to big as to affect the drinkability.

d: this is a definite session beer for me. an easy drinking ale, perfect both for a summer barbie or a winter warm-up session.

I am really impressed with this brew. As far as i'm concerned, this is one of the best widely-available aussie beers on the market at the moment. I hope they keep brewing it.

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Photo of pin
2.5/5  rDev -32.2%

Photo of joecast
4.1/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

hop thief version 2.0
best before 11/07

had this on tap a couple weeks ago. wasnt too impressed, actually, i was disappointed then with the aroma after being so impressed with version 1.0
we'll see what the bottle brings.

damn! what stands out on first impressions is how clear this beer is. light amber with little carbonation. forms a small off white head that settles to a few stray bubbles with little lacing.

now, the showcase of the beer. sniff...sniff...
hmm, its nice. but much more "standard apa" than v1.0
citrus, a bit spicy, some floral and sweet malt hints. missing the "exotic" feel of v1.0 which was easily the high point of the beer for me.

well talking about the taste seems a bit unnecessary now. anyway, good hop flavor and long bitter finish.
trying to put this beer in perspective. being a hophead, it finishes a bit flat, but anymore hops and it probably throws things out of whack.

man, would LOVE to try the two versions side by side. just shows what a change in hop variety can do. keep 'em coming james.

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Photo of patre_tim
2.82/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Copper with moderate carbonation, and a half finger of off white head.

Smells of skunk, hard water, soda water, and a hint of malt.

The taste follows the nose. Very little bitterness if any.

Very much like soda water, spicy and full of large bubbles, aka, watery.

Got this in Perth, Australia, where I drank it August 23rd, 2017. If it had been in another category, such as an English Mild Pale Ale, I would have given it a higher rating. As an IPA though, its not hoppy or anything close to an American IPA. Still, it has a great story on the label.

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Photo of DaveFL1976
4.3/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A two-hour lunch break between classes at Melbourne Business School provided me enough time to ride my bike to the James Squire Brewhouse on Russell Street and sample the new beer, Hop Theif.
Now I'm an admitted hophead. Guilty as charged. But I wanted to criticize this beer for being not hoppy enough, too hoppy, or whatever. The fact is, it's good stuff.

Pours an amber/gold colour with a chunky white head that sticks to the side of the glass. The smell is citrusy and spicy. Smells like Cascade to me, maybe a little Saaz? But a malty backbone is evident still evident and not blown out of the water by the hops. I would have scored aroma higher than a 4 if it had a little more hop punch on the nose.

The taste is sweet up front, with a nice malt character. That is until the hops hit the back of your tongue. Mmm, good. Nice balance. It's not overly bitter like I was expecting. Actually, I'll bet it has less IBUs than the James Squire IPA, but there's heaps of aroma hops (for an Aussie Ale) that give it the zing that I like in my pale ales. It's hoppy, but not overpoweringly so. It fits right into an APA style, in my books.
A full mouthfeel, but not heavy, and good carbonation off the tap. Drinkability? For me at least, it's dangerously good.
But then again, I use hop bags as car air fresheners.

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Hop Thief Ale from Malt Shovel Brewery
Beer rating: 3.69 out of 5 with 68 ratings